Reddit experienced a major outage yesterday, and our 5 tips for what to say to customers when your website goes down

Reddit experienced a major outage yesterday, and our 5 tips for what to say to customers when your website goes down

Reddit was down for several hours yesterday due to an “internal systems issue”. While the mobile version of the site fluctuated between being semi usable to being completed down, the desktop version was unusable for nearly five hours.

Outages like this that occur to major website are a newsworthy event, as users flock to social media to report the outage and speculate on the cause. A fix was implemented and the site slowly came back up just before 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. By the time it was back up it had already been reported on by major tech news sites such as the Verge, Apple Insider, TechCrunch and more.

We’ve discussed outages before on this site because as we just said, they’re newsworthy events, but what about when your company’s website goes down?

It might be less news worthy than Facebook, Reddit, Amazon, Twitter etc. having an outage but depending on the type of business you’re in it may still be noticeable to your customers if your website has a major outage.

When something goes wrong there’s often a knee jerk reaction to move along and pretend it never happened, but outages these days often go hand in hand with cyber threat events and moving along mums the word may leave your customers with the wrong idea (and rightfully concerned).

If you’re in a business sector that saves customer data at all, and there aren’t many that aren’t, it’s always good to be transparent when you have a major outage. Even if your website was down briefly it still might have been noticed by some and it’s best to keep ahead of the rumor mill.

Here are our five tips for what to say to your customers when your website experiences an outage:

  1. If the outage is ongoing, update your social media. Customers often look to your social media pages for news about your business and this will be the first place many will check to find out what’s going on. You don’t have to cover everything about the outage, a summary of what’s happening and that you’re aware of it will be enough.
  2. Let your customers know how they can reach if you needed (especially if going through your website is how customers usually contact you). Having an email address available specifically for customer concerns is a good idea.
  3. Also send an email proactively, especially if the outage extends longer than a day. Not every user will check social media, sending an email covers the rest of your digital bases for letting customers know.
  4. Be sure to post an update when the issue is resolved. Again, it’s best to stay ahead of your own narrative for outages within your business, posting an update and a brief description of what the issue was is a good idea.
  5. Finally, if your outage was the result of a breach, follow state and country guidelines for notifying customers of any data leaks that may have occurred.

Your business reputation can be affected by major outages, we wrote an article on how to protect your reputation and recover. You can find it here.

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